She Thought They Were Her Siblings. By the Time She Realized They Weren’t, One of Them Was Dead. The
Title: The Suicide Gene
Author: CJ Zahner
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
She thought they were her siblings. By the time she realized they weren’t, one of them was dead.
Doctor Emma Kerr had no right counseling them. Adopted and her birth records lost, she believed she was born a McKinney. Her face, intelligence, and depression resembled theirs. For years people mistook her for their sister. So she devised a plan. What begins as a scheme to counsel the McKinney family and determine if they are blood relatives, quickly causes Emma to wonder if she had truly done the manipulating. Is someone following her?
Now Emma clamors to escape the McKinney world of domination and deception.
Is she Mathew McKinney’s sister? She can’t be. Is he in love with her? He can’t be. Then how do he and his sisters know more about her than she knows herself? This is a game to them. Is the game Suicide? Or Murder?
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
The Funeral Parlor.
The face in the casket was her own. It nearly freaked her out.
She stood between her brother and sister, knees wobbling. Her high-necked dress clung to her skin, choking her throat, squeezing her long, slender body tighter and tighter until she felt her lungs might explode. Damn panic attacks.
Her siblings moved closer, tightening their grip on her when they heard her struggling to breathe. Together their tall frames—movie-star handsome—melded into a dark mass at the foot of the casket. It took all the energy the three of them could muster to keep her upright.
“Are you okay?” Melanie asked her.
“Try not to embarrass yourself,” Matt whispered.
Again, a nod.
She wasn’t sure she could get through the day without fainting. There were no breaks at a funeral, and she just wanted to get away from the grim whispery-whirrs of the bereaved and the sickeningly-sweet waft of the flowers. But she couldn’t leave. Matt would kill her and, besides, she had no cigarettes. Her sister was her supplier. Now she’s dead.
The parade of mourners stretched out of the room and down the hall and it was only 2:05. Some faces in line she didn’t recognize, which infuriated her. Her sister had no real friends. They just want to know what happened.
She tried to ignore surrounding conversations and remain composed. But like Medusa’s venomous mane, muffled words of hand-covered comments serpentined toward her from all directions. She couldn’t block them. They echoed in her head like garbled phrases over a worn intercom. “Why did she do it?” “Like her mother.” “Was it suicide?”
That last question nearly sent her to her knees. Her body sagged. Melanie caught her and Matt pulled her close, so she could lean on him until it passed.
“Don’t look if looking makes you queasy,” Melanie told her, but her glance drifted back to her sister’s pasty face. That’s what I would look like if I were dead.
She, herself, had considered suicide for so long it was hard to believe she still feared death. She hated funerals, could barely walk through the front door of a funeral home without hyperventilating. Yet, she had to go to this one. Her own identical twin sister lie in that ugly copper box, her head sunk low in billowing white silk.
“I’m sorry for the three of you.” Her aunt Carol’s hoarse voice coaxed her attention. “I can’t believe this is happening to our family again. Did you know she was that bad?”
“Well.” Melanie paused. “She’s always had those tendencies, but we thought—with the counseling—she was doing better.”
“Yes,” Matt said. “Six months ago we started seeing a psychiatrist—all four of us.”
“We thought a counselor might help,” sweet Melanie continued. “We decided maybe we did have some baggage about Mom’s—” She took a deep breath. Her gaze moved to her sister.
Don’t say it, Mel, don’t say suicide.
Author website: www.cjzahner.com
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Cyndie "CJ" Zahner is a digital-book hoarder, lover of can't-put-down books, runner, author, and Mensa wannabe. That last trait explains the inspiration for her first novel, The Suicide Gene. Her second book, Dream Wide Awake, was inspired during long runs on Presque Isle State Park in her hometown of Erie, Pennsylvania. She is a proud mother of three and an even prouder grandmother of one. Before becoming a novelist, CJ worked as a grant and freelance writer. Her articles varied from business to women’s health to the paranormal. Her most popular articles can be found on her website at https://cyndiezahner.com/ or www.cjzahner.com . In 2015, she began looking at life differently when her brother and his wife were diagnosed with early-onset dementia and Alzheimer’s. At that time, her husband pulled her aside and said, “Quit your job. You’re a writer.” After twenty years of service, CJ picked up her purse at work one day and quietly walked away. Now, she rises before dawn, writes, runs, and smiles much. She completed The Suicide Gene and Dream Wide Awake, and is nearing completion of two other novels, Within the Setting Sun and The Dream Snatchers. A hard worker and story lover, CJ Zahner is determined to read, write, and run happily ever after...
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